Testing and Inspection Frequency in a Medical Arts Building
by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Apr 19, 2021 1:00:00 AM
Q: I am in a medical arts building. All that I have in this building is a hospital-based lab satellite station, and a physical therapy (PT) area; otherwise the rest of the rooms are all physician offices. Am I still required to do all the life safety tests and inspections, like fire pump churn test, generator load test, fire alarm system test, fire extinguisher inspection, sprinkler inspection, fire damper inspection, ‘EXIT’ sign inspection, and fire drills at the same level of frequency as I do at the hospital?
A: Yes and no. The frequency and level of testing of fire safety features are the same regardless of the occupancy of the building, with the exception of fire dampers and fire drills. NFPA 80-2010 section 18.104.22.168 says the frequency of testing fire dampers is once every 4-years. Then this same section provides an exception for hospitals which allows 6 years between tests.
Likewise, the fire drills section 22.214.171.124 of the 2012 Life Safety Code (LSC) says fire drills must be conducted quarterly on all shifts for healthcare occupancies (i.e. hospitals), which translates to 12 times per year. But section 39.7.2 of the 2012 LSC says fire drills in business offices (i.e. medical arts buildings) shall be performed ‘periodically,’ which is interpreted to mean once per year by your accreditation organization.
The biggest change between healthcare occupancies and business occupancies is you may not be required to have all of the fire safety features in a medical arts building that a hospital is required to have, but, if you do, then you have to maintain them the same.